Jimmy Buffett has expanded his fleet of airplanes, adding a 2012 Pilatus PC-12 with the tail number N920JB.
The PC-12 is a Swiss-built single engine turboprop that can seat 8-9 people, cruise at 280 knots, and fly 1,573 nautical miles at 30,000 ft.
The airplane allows Buffett to fly shorter trips that wouldn’t be as practical in the Falcon 900, such as West Palm Beach to Orlando.
The PC-12 can also takeoff and land on much shorter runways, needing only 2,650 ft for takeoff at max weight.
Check out Jimmy’s other airplanes here.
For more information on the PC-12, visit www.pilatus-aircraft.com
On Thursday night, Jimmy Buffett, along with Mac McAnally and Robert Greenidge, played a benefit show for the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida:
“I kind of do this for a living, so I’ve seen a lot of crowds,” the singer/songwriter said, voice echoing through the National Naval Aviation Museum on Thursday night. “But I’ve got airplanes in attack mode aimed at me.”
Buffett grinned as his fans, gathered around the small stage, hooted their appreciation. He marveled at the jets once more.
“This is pretty cool.”
A typical understatement by the understated king of trop rock. But Thursday’s sold-out show was nothing short of paradise for Buffett’s loyal Parrot Heads.
Fans from all over the U.S. shelled out $500 each for the intimate, hour-long concert which raised about $250,000 for the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation.
The Jamaica Information Service has another article and a few photos from Jimmy’s flight into the Boscobel Aerodrome last Friday (see our original story from Saturday). Jimmy was the first international passenger to fly in and be processed by customs at the airport on the north coast of Jamaica:
Buffett exits the Pilatus PC-12 after landing at Boscobel
Jimmy shows off his welcome gift. With him is Youth, Sports and Culture Minister, Hon. Olivia Grange (left) and Chris Blackwell of Island Outposts
The Pilatus PC-12 that Buffett was flying is a 2010 model registered to Epps Air Service in Atlanta, GA. The aircraft was recently listed for sale but the listing has been removed. So is this another addition to Buffett’s fleet of airplanes that already includes a Falcon 900, Cessna Caravan, Grumman Goose, and Stearman? If Buffett did purchase the airplane, it will show up in registration records in the next couple months.
The PC-12 does make sense for Buffett. It fills a niche between his Falcon 900 trijet and Cessna Caravan single engine turboprop on amphibious floats. The PC-12 is also a single engine turboprop, but has a much larger cabin and can fly over 100 mph faster than the Caravan. It has excellent short field capability and would be much more efficient for shorter trips than the Falcon.
On Friday Jimmy Buffett flew the first flight into the new Boscobel Aerodrome in Jamaica. He was greeted warmly (no shots fired) by Sports Minister Olivia Grange, Airports Authority of Jamaica (AAJ) chairman Mark Hart, and Island Records founder Chris Blackwell:
“I just got to say what a thrill it is to come directly into Boscobel; this just makes things so much easier,” Buffett said.
He also commended the processing by immigration officials who were brought in just for the occasion, saying the experience was “lovely”.
But Buffett might have inadvertently disclosed that the expanded facility would be named Ian Fleming Airport – in memory of the creator of the famed James Bond series – who lived and penned several of the James Bond stories just a few miles away at Golden Eye in Oracabessa, now owned by Blackwell.
“It’s the ease with which you come in and go out, which this airport – which I hope will be named Ian Fleming Airport – allows,” said Buffett.
Hart later responded in the affirmative when a reporter asked him if the facility would indeed be named Ian Flemming Airport.
Grange tried to hide the revelation, butting in: “Well, we have to … we’re not going to pre-empt anything this morning. Sufficient to say we will have a name, and it will have a famous name.”
Blackwell referred to the Anguilla airport as being one that facilitates easy access by private aircraft and even smaller commercial planes, and suggested that such a model could be followed.
“When you establish something with ease to come in, it will attract people; it has a big effect on business. Any place that takes the pressure off Manley and Sangster (airports) is going to help,” Buffett said.
Grange thanked Buffett and had special commendation for Blackwell, saying:
“I want to use the opportunity to thank Chris Blackwell. He really must be commended because I remember the very first discussion about expanding the facility here and the opportunity that it will create, and in record time, it’s been a success.”
Listen to a short audio interview with Buffett here.
An interesting sidenote… the aircraft in the picture is a Pilatus PC-12. In the photo caption in the article it says the airplane is “Buffett’s private plane.” If it is indeed his plane, then this is a recent addition to Jimmy’s fleet.
The PC-12 pictured is a 2010 model registered to Pilatus so it’s possible that Jimmy recently bought it or was demoing it. Or it could be neither and he was just chartering it. If you know anything about Jimmy owning a PC-12, please drop us an email.
(Photos by Carl Gilchrist (top) and Alesia Edwards)
Back in December we told you that Jimmy Buffett had an aviation departure procedure out of Palm Beach International Airport named after him. An article in today’s Orlando Sentinel mainly focusing on Donald Trump also mentions Buffett’s departure and has a quote from him:
Buffett, a licensed pilot, said in a statement released by his publicist that he has flown BUFIT.
“The first thing that came to my mind was, ‘What would Orville and Wilbur Wright think about all this,’” he said. “I am honored to be a departure from Palm Beach. I hope it is a path that takes many pilots and passengers on magical voyages.”
Gregory Gish, the air traffic worker charged with naming the spots, was a fan of both Trump’s television show “The Apprentice” and of Buffett’s music, said his former boss, Carl Calcasola. Gish, who retired last year and could not be reached for comment, also named a bit of sky after Trump’s catchphrase, “You’re fired,” which comes out as UFIRD in controller-speak, and another after Buffett keyboardist Michael Utley.
The BUFIT ONE Departure, as it’s called, is used for standardizing routes for aircraft taking off from Palm Beach and departing to the south. Obviously this is a route that Jimmy himself is likely to take often.
The procedure calls for flying to waypoints with the names JIMEY, BUFIT, FINNS, PYRUT, and UTLEY (referring to Michael Utley, Jimmy’s long-time keyboard player). There are also two Trump-related waypoints on the BUFIT ONE: UFIRD and DONLD. Aviation waypoints are five letters long and can only be used once in the United States, hence the funny spellings.
Buffett has kept his airplanes at Palm Beach International for several years. Learn more about Jimmy’s flying and see his airplanes here.
Read the full Sentinel article here.
Update – The TC Palm illustrates the route:
Jimmy Buffett will be the first to land at an upgraded airport in Jamaica when he flies his Falcon 900 there on Friday:
The Airports Authority of Jamaica yesterday said singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett, and not Warren Buffett, as it had announced Monday, will be the celebrity visiting Jamaica on Friday.
Buffett, of Margaritaville fame, will be here on the special invitation of Chris Blackwell of Island Outpost and will be the first to land in his private jet on the upgraded Boscobel Aerodrome in St Mary, the Airports Authority said.
The facility will be commissioned later this month as the island’s third international airport.
Let’s hope Jamaican authorities welcome him differently than in 1996 when they opened fire on his seaplane as he taxied in the water at Negril. That incident was the inspiration for the song Jamaica Mistaica.
Jimmy has been flying for over 20 years and owns several airplanes. Read more about his aviation adventures here.